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Photo: Ryan Kelley/QNS
Constance DelVecchio Maltese and her painting of Serafin Maltese.

Constance DelVecchio Maltese, a respected artist and wife of a former state senator and a longtime Middle Village resident, died on Dec. 7. She was 85.

Known for her “American Women” series of paintings which went on display at the Italian American Museum in 2007, Maltese was the beloved wife of former state Senator Serphin Maltese who served in Albany for 20 years. The two were married for about 63 years.

“I’ve always considered Serphin like an action hero,” Constance Maltese told QNS in 2008. “[He embodies] truth, justice and the American way.”

A skilled painter, Constance DelVecchio Maltese drew from Italian history from antiquity and later eras. In her series called “The Age of Discovery Navigators,” Maltese illustrated figures from the time using Roman portraits and other depictions contemporary to the subject.

This project took years, starting in 1986 and continuing on through 1992, marking 500 years since Christopher Columbus made landfall in the Americas.

“When we were first married we had a room and a half in Rego Park,” she said in 2008. “We had a mattress on the floor and a card table with four chairs. I went to work, and he went to school. After the children came [daughters Andrea and Leslie] Serphin went to night school, and I painted at home.”

In the mid-1980s, Maltese was an Illustrator for Random House, creating imagery for story books and other literature.

Maltese got her start in illustrating in 1958, working as art director for My Baby Magazine on Madison Avenue where she remained for 28 years.

Maltese attended the School of Industrial Arts, Parson’s School of Design, New York University and Art Student’s League from 1946 to 1950, according to her LinkedIn page.

A wake for Maltese will be held on Monday, Dec. 10, and Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. at Schwille Funeral Home, 66-32 Myrtle Ave., Glendale. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 12, at Our Lady of Hope Church, 61-27 71st St., Middle Village, followed by interment at All Faiths Cemetery, Middle Village.

This story was updated on Dec. 10 at 11:08 a.m. Robert Pozarycki contributed to this report.

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